See also: beur writing; francophone cinema: North Africa; suburbs
Comics by Beurs, or Maghrebi-French (i.e. French of North African Arabic or Berber descent), usually focus on France as a post-colonial, multiethnic nation. The most prominent Maghrebi-French cartoonist is Farid Boudjellal, an artist of Algerian heritage who has published numerous individual comic books and collaborative works. His comics sometimes draw on the fantastic substance of traditional Arabic tales, e.g. Djinn (Genie) and on humour and caricature, e.g. the four-album Juif-Arabe (Jew-Arab) series, but he is also known for his realist-style saga that tells the story of the Slimani family, which emigrated from Algeria to France, recounted in L'Oud (The Oud), Le Gourbi (The Hovel), Ramadân, Gags a l'harissa (Harissa-Flavoured Gags) and Jambon-Beur: les couples mixtes (Ham-Beur/Butter: Mixed Couples). In his comics, Boudjellal tackles the complex issues at the heart of immigration and Maghrebi-French cultural hybridity, by examining mixed couples, gender roles, the composition of Islam in France and anti-Maghrebi racism. His Ramadân won the Résistance prize at the 1989 Angoulême national comics festival.
Cartooning by Maghrebin artists who take immigration issues in France as their subject matter dates back at least to the 1970s, and includes Saladin's Les migrations de Djeha: les nouveaux immigrés (The Migrations of Djeha: The New Immigrants), whose principal character, an immigrant to France named Djeha, was borrowed from North African folk tales. Saladin's comic book and Boudjellal's Les soirées d'Abdulah: Ratonnade (Abdulah's Evenings:RatHunt/Beating up an Arab) exemplify an initial crop of comics that depicted the lives of single, male Maghrebi immigrant workers. A subsequent Beur moment in comics occurred in the early to mid-1980s, when Maghrebi-French cartoonists, who had grown up in France and called it home came of age, participated in the effervescence of the Beur political and cultural movement and began to address the concerns of their own generation. Cartoonists who then shared time in the spotlight included Rasheed, Sabeurdet and Larbi Mechkour, an artist who drew Les Beurs (The Beurs), a series of humorous sketches, dosed with fantasy, about life in the housing projects (storyline by Boudjellal). Since that period, few comic books by Maghrebi-French artists have made it into print, excepting those of Boudjellal. However, other comic books of note include Homicide, a hallucinatory murder story set in Marseille, drawn by Kamel Khelif (storyline by Amine Medjdoub), and Le Monde merveilleux des Barbus (The Marvellous World of the Bearded Ones), which satirizes the Islamic movement and was drawn by Slim, an exiled Algerian cartoonist living in France.
See also: beur writing; comic strips/cartoonists